Now the elder trees renew their patience. In the breeze their infant leaves murmur
until the rustle and roar of the Tall Ones shush the buds to sleep.
Their loud lullaby only ceases at dark.
One day, weary and blanked out, I hear the frogs and leaves chorus.
Their songs strangely mirror mine.
as the oldest Tall One produces a mist in the starlight.
I stand in the star fog paralyzed,
realizing all is in the leaves’ swoosh and streams’ lilting contralto.
“Caw, caw” a crow lodges on an elder’s branch. His beak holds a straw,
shaped like a slim key.
I reach towards it, but the bird takes off,
as a thunderous clap from the charcoal cloud
commands me to climb.
up where the wise one makes magical fans with light stalks gleaned from Paris,
crafts black enameled buttons stenciled with gold
flames from a burning building.
Wild things prance from parchment strips
while cinnamon mists cloud inky formulas
only those chosen can read.
To make that trek I must cast off.
First the heavy brocaded
cape is tossed near budding fiddleheads.
Next my coat with its scratchy wool and shiny brass buttons.
Though it once shielded me
I fold it near a stream for someone
who wants rest.
Like the skins of babies or grandmothers:
some layers prove delicate.
As I step out of flouncy skirts and petticoats,
lipsticks, bank books,
crumbs and excuses fall from pockets.
My silk camisoles drape a tree stump.
Gossamer nets now protect tree hollows.
Strangely I feel more myself,
I stand just before the last curve
that will lead me to her warm white cottage
within its vibrant green field.
I’m told a colt will greet and nuzzle me
with his soft velvety nose.
Can I become a wild thing—
or perhaps even a chosen
provided, properly naked and scratched,
can I be welcomed
into the spirit’s violet smoke?